Accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case suspected of financing terrorism
Affected Countries: india;
Two key accused in the smuggling of 30 kg of gold via diplomatic channels at the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram conspired to “damage the monetary stability of India” and are suspected of “financing terrorism”, the NIA told the court in a remand report submitted Tuesday.
“It is submitted that Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, and the other accused, had conspired together and separately at various places in Kerala to damage the monetary stability of India by destabilising the economy by smuggling large quantities of gold from abroad,” the probe agency told the court.
“It is suspected they used the proceeds of smuggling for financing terrorism through various means,” the NIA (National Investigation Agency) also said.
Earlier, top sources from agencies investigating this case told NDTV that evidence showed at least 180 kg of gold had been smuggled via the consulate. The total quantity of gold smuggled by this syndicate is likely to be higher, the sources said.
The report said the seizure was “30 kg gold camouflaged as diplomatic baggage to the UAE consulate”.
In the report the agency further added: “It is further submitted that during custodial interrogation the role played by other associates came to light, including one Ramees KT, who is the kingpin in this case. Sandeep Nair stated Ramees KT insisted on smuggling gold in large quantities and maximum numbers during the lockdown as the financial position of the country is weak”.
The NIA also submitted before the court that it had got various details through the accused, including banking and non-banking channels used to invest proceeds of the crime, conversations between the accused and UAE authorities regarding diplomatic bags, mobile phones, electronic gadgets, and data from social media accounts.
These needed to be investigated and the accused needed to be questioned further, the agency said.
“Their deliberate act of using diplomatic baggage as a cover to transact illegal business may have serious repercussions in diplomatic relations with the government of UAE,” the NIA cautioned in its report.
NIA custody of the two accused has been extended till July 24.
Swapna Suresh, who has filed a bail petition, alleged she had been implicated in the crime without any basis. She also alleged the case was the offshoot of political rivalry between the state and centre.
The bail hearing will be held on July 24.